Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Wednesday, 11 November 2015


In the run-up to Remembrance Day, I've been featuring war-related poems. Today’s is the last in the sequence, entitled Roots.
World War One, sometimes referred to as The Great War, was often spoken of as “The war to end all wars”.
In fact, this was very far from the case, for mankind has gone on to develop a taste for war on an even grander scale.
It seems that warfare, like a virus, mutates.
The Second World War, two decades later, involved airborne attacks on enemy territory which, inevitably, led to massive civilian casualties, while today, through further mutation, we appear to be in the throes of a third worldwide conflict, this time, terrorist-driven: yet another struggle for survival against the forces of darkness. 


An Englishman and German met in France:
their encounter
was not amicable.
A German bayonet ended the fight
though the Englishman had an equal chance
but, being English, he was too polite
and said:
You go first.
He was unable
to overrule nurture.
Now flowers grow
where he fell.
And the German, what of him? 
A piece of shrapnel flew into his brain
and killed him too.
Now they both lie below
a spreading tree,
the slayer and the slain:
its roots bind them together, limb to limb.

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